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Youth Work Labs - 10th December 2020

On December 10, 2020 we ran our first youth work lab. The focus of this lab session was on assisting emerging youth work associations in their respective journeys of formation and maturation. CAYWA board members were joined by Puja Bajad of the Commonwealth Secretariat as well as youth workers from Malawi, Nigeria and Malta.

CAYWA Chair, Professor Robyn Broadbent presented the overview and the resources available at the Commonwealth as well as CAYWA for emerging national youth work associations to get help from. She also mentioned the importance of basing any establishment of the associations on proper governance and ethical foundations.

Michael Asudi, CAYWA board member, reiterated the importance of governance structures and for the association to adhere to compliance and regulatory guidelines so as to not undermine the credibility of the youth work profession and its intentions.

Jane Zintl, CAYWA board member, shared how they used the medium of consultations in New Zealand/Aotearoa to overcome the barriers of perceptual bias against associations - being viewed with distrust as a colonial instrument. It is thus very essential to build trust and relationships by listening to and heeding diverse views.

It was mentioned that in Malta, youth work professionalisation is being strongly supported and pushed by government to establish recognition, education and career pathing of youth workers.

Kethania Griffiths, CAYWA board member, mentioned that youth work in Jamaica still lacks official recognition - proper governance structures thus need to be in place.

Dr John Tan, CAYWA Vice-Chair shared that while Singapore has competency frameworks for youth work, formal education pathways for youth workers have yet to be established, while youth work is not viewed that positively too.

It was shared that in Malawi, which still does not have a youth work association, the youth workers are very much in favour of forming one.

The representative from Nigeria said that he is relatively new to the youth work association scene and is keen to know more.

The meeting also discussed the need to find effective ways of presenting youth work as an attractive career option among young people.

There could also be the possibility of exploring technology or online means to share a body of knowledge on youth work theory and expertise between more developed nations of the Commonwealth with nations who are developing.

This being our first youth lab, we are very happy with the valuable information we have shared and learnt - If you have any topics or ideas you would like us to cover for the next youth labs, leave a comment and let us know!

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